Sunday, 4 May 2014

Roast Chicken and Yogurt Sauce and Homemade Pitta Breads



This is one of the best meals I've had in ages at home and it's so simple. It's perfect for a sunny day when you don't want a barbecue but you don't just want a salad; it's perfect if there are just a couple of you or if you need to feed a crowd.

I went to Hobbs House Bakery and spent a day cooking with the Fabulous Baker Brothers last weekend, which was wonderful - I'm in the process of writing a lengthy post about it! We baked different types of bread in the morning with Tom and tackled butchery in the afternoon with Henry. One of the things we made was pitta breads, which were so easy and tasted delicious straight from the oven - if you've only ever had shop-bought pitta breads then you don't know what you're missing!

I wanted to make pittas at home so I used the recipe from the first eponymously titled Fabulous Baker Brothers cookery book. I made eight or nine pittas from this recipe.

You need:
560g strong white flour
10g salt
300ml tepid water
20ml oil
5g dried yeast or 10g fresh yeast

I bought a small bag of flour from Hobbs House; Shipton Mill is in Tetbury in Gloucestershire, near Hobbs House and this is the flour that Tom Herbert uses. I also had some fresh yeast, which I have never come across before - does anyone know where you can buy it? Tom had some left over from what we used in the class and he gave us each about 50g to take home.


You simply mix the ingredients and form a dough, then you have to knead it for a full 15 minutes. Or if you have a Kitchenaid or similar machine with a dough hook, leave it running for ten minutes and at the end you have a lovely pliable ball of dough.


Cover with clingfilm or put a plastic shower cap over the bowl so it has room to rise. Put in a warm place for an hour until the dough has doubled in size.


Preheat your oven to the absolute highest temperature it will go. Put a baking tray or baking stone in the oven to get hot - you don't want to put your pittas on a cold tray then put it in the oven. Interestingly, a baking stone - which I had never heard of - is the same as a pizza stone but rectangular. So if you have a pizza stone you can use that for baking bread. Unfortunately I am in the process of selling my house and buying another so my pizza stone - along with a lot of other things - is in a storage unit. So I used a baking tray instead.

Another tip from Tom: weigh out pieces of dough so you have 100g each then your pittas will be the same size. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a pitta bread shape.


Place on the oven tray or baking stone and you will see the pitta breads literally puff up. They only take a few minutes to cook so keep an eye on them - they are done when they are risen and slightly brown on top. Place on a wire rack to cool.


 I got eight or nine from the dough.



I decided to serve these with roast chicken, which you could serve either hot or cold. On a whim I bought a whole chicken with a piri piri rub from the Co-op that morning and roasted it in the oven so it would be ready just before I wanted to cook the pittas.


I made a virtuous sauce from fat-free plain yogurt and a little garlic puree, and spooned this along with some rocket into my pitta bread, and tore off the chicken with my hands and filled the pitta.


I served my chicken, rocket and yogurt pitta with some lettuce and some potato salad. It tasted delicious and was a fantastic dinner for a summer's evening.





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